Week three arrived in an explosion of flour, yeast, failure and triumph. Here's what you need to know

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Via: The Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / BBC

GBBO's bread week has an image problem. Swirls of butter cream? None. Fancy flecks of vanilla bean seeds? Zero. Sexy ganache cascading down cake? Forget it.


So it was with some joy that we observed what's traditionally the least thrilling of all the Bake Off episodes singing and dancing into its own.

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Via: The Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / BBC

Quick loaves were first up. Things could have quickly turned into a wholemeal and pumpkin roll snooze-fest. But no. Ugne (the show's 32-year-old bodybuilder-cum-baker – a mash-up so brilliant we're still not over it) crafted a chocolate-spiked creation. There was a little trepidation from Mary ("I can smell the baking power from here," the Grand Doynenne of Cake said at judging time) but, thankfully, it all came good. 


Resident cheeky chappy Mat engaged in a 'Mexican stand-off' with the wonderfully facially expressive Nadiya, and taught us that when it comes to dough, a few jalapeños and a grating of cheddar are the way to go.

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Via: The Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / BBC

Dorret's 'untidy' bread bed. Check out more Bake Off goodness here

When the technical challenge (baguettes) came round, pro baker Mr Hollywood came into his Simon Cowell-esque own. The French sticks must, he says, have the perfect crunch, an irregular interior and a strong crust. This, he proclaimed, is achieved by creating steam in the oven while said sticks bake. Naturally, he failed to include this in the recipe, and proceeded to utter the immortal line: "We're looking for the best amateur baker in the country, Mary." 


Well, quite. 


Judging that round was tough. Dorret's offerings were of too many sizes, were under-proved and came scored with too many lines, while Mary commented that she "feels sorry" for Nadiya's bake. Gulp. 


Bringing it back to the positive was the ever-fabulous Leeds native Sandy, who continued to assert herself as the sassiest contestant yet with a pair of seriously great sparkly shoes and some smouldering camera eye contact.


But it's just got to be 37-year-old Bracknell-based nurse Alvin, who just keeps on scooping the award for contestant you'd most like to hug – even if only to get our hands on his balsamic rolls. Yum.

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Via: The Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / BBC

Paul's spectacular show stopper challenge. See more Bake Off news here

On to the showstopper, and it was prison officer Paul who pulled out the big guns with a bread sculpture lovingly twisted into a pretty damn perfect replica of a lion's face. Paul (judge Paul – keep up) proclaimed that he "would have never attempted something like this", it was "packed with flavour" and – here's the kicker – he shook his hand. Praise indeed. 


Sandy's bready flower arrangement "looked clumsy" but tasted lovely; Ian's vase, crafted from homemade moulds, was spectacular. But Dorret's (her of the tragic sliding chocolate cake disaster back in week one) rendering of Tracey Emin's 'unmade bed' was not met with plaudits. "Is that five hours' work? I don't think so," mused the Big P.

Sadly, it was one mistake too many for the 53 year old batter aficionado, and she was sent home. Lovely Cambridgeshire local Ian took the Star Baker crown – we all knew he'd rise to the challenge.*


*Seriously, we tried not to say it. Sorry.